The First Day of School – Helping You and Your Child Transition to a New Early Learning Program

Enrolling your child in their first early learning program can be a nerve wracking experience. How do you prepare your little person and yourself for this exciting new chapter?

I’ve read some articles recently that take a very authoritarian approach to getting children ready for their first day at their new little school. Stressing things like the importance of sleep training and not “hanging out” in the classroom.

I want to assure you that this is not the way we operate at Red River ELC.

I will never ask you to sleep train your child (nor will I do any sleep training or cry it out in my program). Each child and I eventually find our rhythm, but I am perfectly comfortable cuddling small people to sleep if that’s what they need.

“respecting and finding ways to support each child’s varied physiological and biological rhythms and needs for active play, rest, and quiet time.” – How Does Learning Happen?

We have an open door policy at Red River during the hours we operate. You are welcome to linger in our program, or visit. We welcome parents to share their time and unique skills or interests with the children in our program.

“Children’s sense of belonging and feelings of security are also strengthened when they have opportunities to make and explore connections between home and the early childhood program. Inviting families to participate (at their comfort level) in their children’s experiences in early years programs ignites children’s interest in learning.” – How Does Learning Happen?

You are your child’s first teacher and you know them best. Please share your wisdom with me, it helps me to be a better educator to your little one.

“Families are experts on their children. They are the first and most powerful influence on children’s learning, development, health, and well-being. Families bring diverse social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Families should feel that they belong, are valuable contributors to their children’s learning, and deserve to be engaged in a meaningful way.” – How Does Learning Happen?

So how can a parent support their child through this transition?

  1. It can really help to visit the program together. This gives you an opportunity to explore the program too! And your little one will feel more at ease in a new space with their special grown up present.
  2. Speak positively about school. Discuss all the wonderful things they will have an opportunity to do and learn.
  3. Let your child know what to expect at child care; introduce them to the name of their teacher and discuss what they will do during the day at school. You can ask the teacher for a schedule to help facilitate this conversation with your child. Having an idea of what will happen will help your child feel secure.
  4. If your little one is still small and carried into the learning environment pass them off to the teacher confidently; if you trust this person to keep them safe and love them in your absence, they will too!
  5. Provide comfort items for when your little one needs them.

The first few weeks settling in to a new environment can be difficult but with open communication between home and school, as well as a desire from the program to support both families and children, little ones soon begin to enter their classroom with joy!